Posts Tagged ‘The A.V. Club’

Monday Medley

What we read while Boston mourned…

Monday Medley

What we read while scoring on Hope Solo…

Monday Medley

What we read while being snookered by Fox News…

Monday Medley

What we read while New Orleans rioted (in a good way this time!)…

  • This is what we tell all other blogs–and each other.

Why Avatar Is Not a Good Movie

I already offered my problems with Avatar when I reviewed it two weeks ago. While I don’t want to repeat myself, that review was written shortly after the film’s opening, before the popular opinion of it had a chance to congeal. In general, opinions of the film haven’t been totally different—though they have been much more positive—from my own: The consensus seems to be that Avatar is visually impressive, if not all that original in terms of story and character.

What has been surprising, though, is how critics and audiences alike do not seem to care about the film’s weaknesses. Almost every review I’ve read, whether from an established critic like Roger Ebert or simply someone’s Twitter feed, has acknowledged the film’s simplicity and derivativeness, and then completely ignored them. In fact, some people have gone even further, saying that the smallness of the story and the characters actually makes the movie better. Sam Adams at The A.V. Club wrote that it’s the film’s political message—and not its visual inventiveness—that is so revolutionary.

Adams’ argument is that the simplicity and obviousness of the film’s message enhances its role as a political invective:

[T]he movie can—and, I think, ought to—be seen as a polemic, which makes criticism of its obviousness beside the point. Having Lang’s colonel refer to his plan to bomb the Na’vi into submission with the words “shock and awe” is not subtle, but it’s not meant to be. Cameron means to be confrontational, and to be sure, audiences looking for a diverting night out are not allowed to overlook the parallels. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while celebrating Ryan Longwell’s return to Lambeau….


  • We linked a few weeks ago to Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker analysis of football and head trauma. Gladwell’s article brought to the fore some issues that have been latent in football for some time (Wait…you mean this is a dangerous sport?), as seen by the attention it’s getting now from Congress and from former Chief Michael Oriard on Deadspin. (What we’d like to see more attention on: the horribly misfigured fingers of former football players. You can see a little with Ted Johnson in the NYT video above, but this is a growing trend among NFL analysts that some of us would rather not see; hence, lack of links.)
  • As part of our extensive World Series preview this week, Tim subtly criticized Philadelphia fans (we believe his words were, “Philadelphia fans suck”). Now, The New York Times‘ Mike Tanier–a native of Philly–examines the differences between the fan ideologies in the City of Brotherly Love and the Big Apple.
  • Here at NPI, we’re fans of both fun and theory; that’s why we’re big fans of “The Fun Theory.” Really, regardless of what it espouses, how can you not be a fan of “The Fun Theory”? It’s arguably our favorite named theory since the good old Theory of Everything.

Learn How to Swim

Chuck Klosterman did an interview with The A.V. Club in which, in honor of Halloween, he discusses his fears. Here is an excerpt:

A few years ago, that movie Open Water was out. I can’t swim, so of course the idea… It’s really hard for people who can swim to relate to this. If you can’t swim, the idea of being in nine feet of water is terrifying, much less the ocean. So when I saw the trailer for that movie, I just couldn’t fathom seeing it. I get no pleasure from that. People who can swim just can’t get it. They’ll push you into the water, assuming that you must be lying.

The interview is, as all interviews involving Klosterman are, very much worth reading. But I don’t want to talk about Klosterman right now; I want to talk about people who don’t know how to swim.

For some reason, it seems unreasonable to me that some people don’t know how to swim. I don’t know why. Swimming hasn’t been essential to the survival of the human race for a few millennia now, and unless you’re a lifeguard, a pirate, or an employee of the Coast Guard, I don’t see it really being integral to your day-to-day life. And it’s not like I swim very often myself. Continue reading